In the world of blogging, you will often hear the mantra, “content is king.” Bill Gates coined this term in an essay by the same title, written in January 1996. Although much has changed since, one constant remains; people want to read sincere, honest, reviews and information about people, places and things before they invest in them. Although Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets can develop a sense of community, research shows that at the end of the day, genuine, informative, and well-written content will trump “likes” and hashtags any day.
Here are 9 reasons why your company should start (or continue) to use blogs to expand your online presence (and generate leads):
- Top Three. According to TechnoratiMedia’s 2013 Digital Influence Report, blogs sit at the Number 3 position – 31.1% – when it comes to what influences consumers the most when it comes to making purchases. The Number 1 and 2 slots are held (not surprisingly) by retail and brand sites, respectively. Granted, Facebook is only slightly behind – 30.8% – but you need to keep in mind that blogs and Facebook are usually used together. Who has a blog that doesn’t link to it via their Facebook page, and vice versa? The point is, blogs are instrumental in building consumer awareness and confidence.
- Community Hubs. Blog followers form a community and communities work together to keep one another informed. TechnoratiMedia’s research also showed that smaller communities are more influential in consumer decision making than larger ones. While it may be “easy” for a company to have 100,000 likes on Facebook, how many of those are honest clients and/or consumers of your product or service? On the other hand, blog followers invest time and energy to read information and are likely to become more invested in the information presented there.
- SEO Staying Power. With the right approach and attention to best SEO practices, blogs can be found for weeks, months, and even years by prospective customers using search engines. This is not the case with Facebook. Things change so fast that your update will fade within a day or two and will likely never be seen again by your target audience.
- Demographics. Blogs are definitely important for hooking adults who are 50-years and older. A recent report by Pew researched various Internet and social media habits of those 17-years and older. Middle-aged adults use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest significantly less than their younger counterparts. There is also a correlation between those with the most money having a lesser presence on Facebook, which is another reason to keep churning out blogs.
- Content Depth. While social media outlets can keep you connected, the interactions are fast, limited, and ever changing. The blog is a source of quality, rather than quantity, where you can really educate consumers using content that is well researched and has depth. This will be much more convincing in the big picture.
- Websites Rule. Last July, Get Satisfaction released their research regarding online buying habits. They found that 89% of consumers go directly to websites to make their purchases, as opposed to using social network links. While it’s true that social media ads and interaction help to inspire consumers, buyers still want to become a part of a brand community, read relevant information, and go through the full B2C cycle for their purchasing transactions.
- Be the Expert. The good news for content producers is that most consumers like to follow the pack. If you can generate quality content (remember, content is king!), you have the ability to become an industry expert. The more people believe you to be an expert, the more they will trust you, and the more they trust you, the more likely they’ll want to purchase from you when they are ready to buy.
- Branding. While Tweets and updates can help to support your brand, your blog is one of the key components you can use to develop your brand in the first place. Your blog is a place where customers get to know you, your product(s), your voice, your style, etc., and viola! A brand is born (or reinforced).
- Keep it Fresh. Stagnation is the enemy of SEO. When your website becomes stale, it will sink to the bottom of keyword rankings like a lead balloon. Blogs are the easiest way to keep your content fresh, and keep your website “above the fold” of (ideally) the first page of search results.
Realistically, blogs and social media enjoy a symbiotic relationship and you want to use both for your digital marketing campaigns. However, the evidence shows that blogs are the most successful way to create fresh, relevant, and in-depth content that will attract new customers and reinforce your online presence.